Ekweremadu: Nigeria is Not Working

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Advocates deployment of ADR mechanism in resolving national conflicts
Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Tuesday declared that Nigeria as currently constituted is not working, stressing that division is not only becoming wider by the day, but gradually destroying the future of the country.

Ekweremadu lamented that Nigerians are daily splitting along ethnic and religious lines, but expressed confidence that the nation can overcome her myriads of problems through the deployment of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), adding that, mediation and conciliation had been necessary tools in dispute resolution.

He was speaking at the 2017 Annual Conference and Induction Ceremony of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) in Abuja.

Speaking on the theme: “Myth and Reality of Agitations; The Place of Consensus Building, Ekweremadu said, “As a nation, however, we have to tell ourselves the hard truth. Nigeria, as currently constituted, is certainly not working well. Nigerians are not only dangerously split along ethnic, religious, and sectional lines, the gap is widening on a daily basis.

“The trend of insults and divisive verbal attacks traded by younger ones against one another’s ethnicities, sections, and religions on the social media on every matter do not also inspire any hope of a brighter future.

“Therefore, I believe the constituent parts of this country must come together around the table immediately to discuss and agree on how to fix the country. I also believe that the 2014 National Conference Report is a starting point”, he said.
According to him, the 2014 National Conference report remains the most recent roadmap produced by every shade of opinion and group in the country.

He expressed sadness that the report had been abandoned to gather dust. “It is rather unfortunate that several months after the Senate requested Mr. President to transmit the report to the National Assembly for legislative actions, nothing has happened. We only read a recent statement credited to the presidency to the effect that it has no confidence in the confab report.

“I do not believe, in good conscience, that a report produced by the cream of all spheres and units of the Nigerian society is worthless. Does the present government intend to set in motion a process to convoke another conference, which outcome it can trust? That will be a waste of time and resources. But, whichever way we look at it, Nigerians must work out a blueprint for a workable, equitable, and prosperous nation”, he insisted.

He however noted with cheers that the ADR now thrives in the country and practitioners are eager to lend their expertise and weight to the consensus building efforts.
Also speaking, Prof. Isaac Albert, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to embrace the instrument of mediation and reconciliation in order to resolve the intractable Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east and militant activities in other parts of the country.

While stating that key players in the Boko Haram insurgency were profiting from the crisis and as such would not want it to end, the Don urged Buhari to embrace the leader of the insurgent group, Abubakar Shekau, as a way of bringing the battle to an end.

President of the ICMC, Mr. Emeka Obegolu, said the Institute preferred the promotion of mediation and conciliation for dispute resolution, adding that “they are a vehicle to the enthronement of political, communal and ethno/tribal peace and harmony in Nigeria.”
“We are challenged to continue to interrogate the incessant crisis that bedevils the polity and threatens to tear the social fabric of our society apart”, he said.